Member Labs

Think Outside the Box for Federal Labs: EPA and Homeland Security



For our April and May theme of homeland security, you’re probably thinking about our members in the DOD and DHS—which is great! You’ll see a lot of news from them this spring. But what may not come to mind as quickly is the involvement of labs and agencies that don’t have those words in their name. For example, do you know that the EPA has an entire field of homeland security research?

Part of the EPA’s mission to safeguard the environment and human health involves working to prevent, prepare for, and recover from incidents that involve chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agents. The EPA focuses on developing technologies, products, and processes that help state and local governments secure and sustain water systems; characterize CBR contamination and determine risk; and developing and testing tools, applications, and methods to remediate sites contaminated during a CBR attack. One of our EPA member labs, the National Homeland Security Research Center, is dedicated to the research and development of technologies that protect the nation’s environmental systems from CBR threats.

A few examples of the recent real-world application of this effort include developing procedures for private and government labs for chemical analysis and emergency response preparedness, collaborating to develop and test technologies that defend against anthrax, advancing decontamination technologies, water cleanup and monitoring, and more. There’s also an online tool that helps disaster-stricken communities determine the best cleanup methods for their situation and connect with local resources that can help.

Federal labs like this one are deeply involved in protecting our communities, from developing technologies for commercialization, to providing knowledge that the entire scientific community can use, to expertise, to resources and tools for state and local government and communities. It’s just another example of the creativity and innovation that come out of federal laboratories. If you’re coming to our fast-approaching national meeting or participating in any of our other opportunities to connect with partners, we hope you’ll keep that in mind when talking about possibilities for partnering with a federal lab. Some of the best collaborations have happened by thinking out of the box about the work they do.

Member Labs